5 TV Shows & Movies Filmed in Tonga(c) Channel 4
5 TV Shows & Movies Filmed in Tonga

7 TV Shows & Movies Filmed in Tonga

(c) Channel 4

What Films and TV Shows Were Filmed in Tonga?

The truth is not much. Unlike its South Pacific neighbours, Tonga is no movie star. Nevertheless, Tonga has certainly been the subject of some movies and TV shows, from wildlife documentaries in the BBC’s Life to bizarre comedies like Tongan Ninja. While Tonga hasn’t been the inspiration for fictional films, its natural landscapes, wildlife and culture have certainly been interesting subjects for various documentaries. So check out what TV shows and movies have been filmed in Tonga in the list below.

For more random stuff like this, see the 20 Fun Facts About Tonga and 40 Fun Facts About Tonga for Kids.

1. BBC Life (2009)

The renowned wildlife documentary from the BBC, narrated by David Attenborough, filmed their humpback whale portions of “Life” in Tonga. In episode three, Mammals, the seas around Tonga were used for filming the nursery and mating ground of humpback whales. The British TV show films a humpback heat run where a female leads potential suitors on a chase. The scene was filmed in Vava’u. Learn more about having your own whale encounters in The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga.

5 TV Shows & Movies Filmed in Tonga(c) BBC - Wikipedia

2. Tongan Ninja (2002)

An action-comedy movie co-starry Flight of the Conchords star, Jemaine Clement, Tongan Ninja features Tonga in, ahem, all its glory? The plot is about a young boy who gets stranded in Tonga in a plane crash, his father gets eaten by a fish, and he trains to be a ninja… Then he ends up going to New Zealand for more nonsense to occur.

5 TV Shows & Movies Filmed in Tonga(c) Wikipedia

3. Treasure Island (1997)

Despite Tonga having a resort called Treasure Island, it’s not to be confused with the reality TV show filmed in the Kingdom by the same name. The show, which originated in New Zealand in 1997, had contestants isolated on a remote Tongan island in the very early seasons. Later in the show’s history, filming moved to Fiji. Contestants would play for a cash prize.

5 TV Shows & Movies Filmed in Tonga(c) Coco Production - Touchdown Productions

4. Shipwrecked: Season 2 (2001)

A similar format to the show mentioned above, Shipwrecked was a British reality TV show where young contestants would have to survive on an island with no competition or prize (although later renditions of the series add these elements). The second season of the original series was filmed in Tonga.

5 TV Shows & Movies Filmed in Tonga(c) Channel 4

5. Pacific Warriors (2015)

This British documentary looks behind the scenes of Pacific Island rugby teams and their players. It explores the backgrounds of rugby players in Tonga, Samoa and Fiji. If you can’t find the show online (we can’t), at least you can learn more about the Tongan culture in The Guide to the Tongan Culture and Traditions.

5 TV Shows & Movies Filmed in Tonga(c) Discovery Channel

6. Somewhere in Tonga (2017)

Somewhere in Tonga is a German film following a social worker, Wolski, who attempts to give a criminal teenager a second chance by living on an uninhabited island with him. The movie features plenty of Tongan scenes and culture to inspire anyone wanting to see more of the islands. The movie is based on a true story.

Movies Filmed In Tonga Optimized(c) zero one film

7. Vai (2019)

Travel the South Pacific Islands through eight storylines in this feature film by nine female Pacific filmmakers and filmed across seven countries. Each story in the anthology follows a woman called Vai (or a variation of the name) in the islands of Tonga, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Niue, Kuki Airani (Cook Islands) and Aotearoa (New Zealand).

6 TV Shows & Movies Filmed in Tonga© New Zealand Film Commission

More About Tonga

That’s it for our list of TV shows and movies filmed in Tonga. For more about the islands, check out the following articles:

Finally, start planning your own tropical getaway with The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga and the 30 Tips for Travelling in Tonga.


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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